The Wrangler, strangely, is a rather romantic rig for something targeted at bearded he-men wearing suspenders and toting chainsaws. Just looking at it conjures images of backwoods stream crossings, remote hikes, and scenic vistas. The Wrangler singly embodies the American spirit unlike any other car perhaps ever built. It’s no wonder, then, that women love the Wrangler as either the owner – or the passenger.
As Click and Clack from Car Talk once pointed out: it’s an adventure every time you fire up the Wrangler, especially on those days when it fails to fire up at all. This brings up a good point: despite the romanticism surrounding the Wrangler, it’s a tough truck to live with day in and day out. The Wrangler stands as perhaps the antithesis of what studies conclude women value in a car.
The Wrangler suffers from a less-than-ideal reliability rating. It’s not very safe: it includes easily removable doors, so hopefully you weren’t expecting a stellar crash rating. It handles like a tractor, bobbing and weaving down the road even when the steering wheel is pointed straight. It’s not very fuel-efficient. And older models just as easily take you out into the elements as they will take the elements in to you, as the roofs are prone to leakage.
Ignoring all the drawbacks, intentionally or not, the Wrangler still stands as a very attractive truck to women because it represents romantic freedom – either for their inner adventurer or with their Jeep-drivin’ significant other.
Amusingly, the Volvo S40 is essentially the antithesis of the Wrangler. Certainly, the Volvo S40 is not very sexy. It has that proto-typical jelly-bean roundness and is not known for being a powerhouse. Despite this, however, the S40 topped a 2011 list of the 10 cars purchased most by women. Why?
The S40 was born in the frozen north in the land of modesty and moose. Although the Volvo emblem is both the male symbol and the symbol for iron, women around the world have embraced the brand.
To female buyers (and probably anyone for that matter), the Volvo S40 stands as a safe and family-friendly car, with the added benefit of a bit of hipness and understated Swedish luxury.
The S40 is cute, safe, fuel-efficient, and just the right amount of sporty without being showy or scary. Offered in turbocharged and normally aspirated engines, front or all-wheel drive, manual or automatic, the S40 can be whatever the buyer wants it to be.
Unlike other cars on this list, few would stand up and cheer the S40 but fewer still would rail against it. It would seem, then, that Volvo has succeeded in producing a very well-loved compact safety sedan that flies comfortably under the radar.
OK, stop screaming. We know. We’re right there with you. The Corolla, for all intents and purposes, has no redeemable value. It’s horribly boring, outdated, and antiquated. Despite the Corolla being effectively the worst car in its class for a whole host of reasons, its sales grew and grew as it aged, defying reason.
Why has it made this list, then? Women love this car. It’s a known entity. Mom had one. Dad had one. Grandma had one. It starts every time and gets you where you need to go and without using much fuel. You can set your watch to the Corolla. That sort of down-to-the-core reliability is attractive and reassuring.
Owning a Corolla says volumes about a person – usually without their knowing it. It says they don’t see a car as anything more than a washing machine or blender; it’s a soulless appliance built for the sole purpose of transportation. They think it doesn’t reflect their personality at all but in reality it says more than words ever could.
Women like it for themselves because of the reasons stated above. They also like it for their partner because it says they, too, don’t give a flip about cars. Being a “car guy” isn’t cool for Corolla owners. To quote Liz Lemon from 30 Rock, “I want someone who thinks being really into cars is lame.”
The Nissan Rogue kind of looks like a shoe. Are we surprised to learn that, just like the S40, the Rogue also topped the 2011 list of cars most purchased by women? No, we’re not surprised at all.
Although the Rogue is big on the inside, it’s based upon the Nissan Sentra car platform. As an early entrant into the compact utility vehicle or “CUV” market, it can be credited for bolstering the segment to its current levels of success. That’s right: we can thank the Rogue for killing off the truck-based SUV and ushering in the world of compact car-based SUVs. Things could be worse, I suppose.
In order to like the Rogue, you’d have to know virtually nothing about competing cars because it’s pretty bland. Powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), it’s pretty slow. It has a big interior space but few other attractive qualities. Its technology is woefully antiquated and its interior build quality is shockingly shoddy for a Nissan. And like we said before, it looks like a shoe.
Ultimately, does any of that matter? Nope. It’s a cheap, reliable utility shoe car that fits a lot of stuff. Sold.
The MGB is the only old car to make the list. From our anecdotal research, it’s the one vaguely classic car on the road that women can join together and agree isn’t a waste of money and space. The most common reason we hear: it’s cute.
The Wrangler is romantic, the S40 is safe, the Corolla is reliable and efficient, the Rogue is roomy, and the MGB is just downright cute. It’s the kind of classic little convertible you could see yourself snuggling up with at night.
Unlike other classic convertibles out there, of which there are plenty, the MGB isn’t trying too hard. It doesn’t have a big engine, it looks terrible with a flame paint job, and you’ll be lucky if it can push itself to above 65mph. Plus, it’s pretty manageable on the road. The steering isn’t too heavy. The brakes aren’t too heavy. And, for an old English car, it fares well to maintenance neglect. Safety features? Let’s not go there.
The kind of person who owns an MGB comes off as slightly professorial – but in a good way. You can rely on this person. They’re a bit quirky as they’ve chosen an old, unusual car. Without a clamoring V8 or racing stripes/flames, you know the MGB owner doesn’t have much to prove. They simply enjoy getting the wind in their hair and the sun on their face behind the wheel of a cute little convertible.
And who doesn’t like that?
What other cars should make this list? Tells us why in comments!